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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Saturday's Songs for the Soul: Pete Seeger and the Psychology of Folk Music

Thought for the Day: I already wrote about Pete Seeger, but want to share some more of his music today in his honor. I decided to write about the psychological impact of Pete Seeger's music. Saturday's posts always share music that has been inspirational or helped people cope with the challenges of life. Pete Seeger's vast catalogue of songs did more than just soothe and inspire our souls. Psychologically, his music did more.

An important psychological element to our mental health is related to what psychologists call internal locus of control. To translate into simple English, when someone has a sense of internal locus of control they feel they are in control of their lives and what happens to them, not fate or other people. Pete Seeger's music sent out a strong message that we have control even when we may be suffering from oppression. However, his music went one step further to empower the listener. His music also encouraged people to take action, join in, raise their voices and become a change agent not only for themselves but for others suffering from prejudice or injustice. His songs were simple, honest and encouraged the listener to think freely, to question injustice and to stand up for what they believe. They teach people who may have lost hope that they could take control of their lives. They could make a difference. His music helped end the Vietnam War, overcome segregation, restore the Hudson River and helped many other causes around the world. He never put down his hammer of justice, stopped ringing his bell of freedom or teaching us us to love our brothers and our sisters all over this land.

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